Tag Archives: cooking

Beer Braised Chicken and Pumpkin Muffins

Yeah looking at that title I might run the other way. They don’t sound like they would go well together but that’s okay because they weren’t for the same meal time!

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Yesterday my co-worker Kelly and I are were charge of snack for our monthly staff meeting. I have been dying to break into a can of pumpkin and offered to make some pumpkin walnut muffins. Kelly put together some caramel dipped apple slices. Obviously we went for a bit of a fall theme here. The muffins were a huge hit and my co-workers couldn’t believe I had just “thrown them together” without a real recipe. Lucky for you guys I wrote down the recipe as I went.

For dinner, I threw together an extremely easy make it and leave it dish. Beer braised chicken thighs. Aldi had chicken thighs on sale and I picked some up because I was there for there all things pumpkin sale. This was another sort of tag-team dinner as I went to yoga with my sister. I prepped everything and cooked it all so all Alex had to do when he got home from his run was turn off the stove and he could eat whenever he wished. He was a great fiance and waited until I got home from yoga so that we could eat together. Pretty cute of him.

To make the muffins I mixed two types of sugar (granulated and brown sugar) with whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spices in my KitchenAid mixer.

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In a small bowl I mixed 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz), eggs, greek yogurt and vanilla extract

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Then the wet got mixed into the dry and mixed together. Once just combined I added in the walnuts and mixed it together before spooning the mix into the muffin tins. The muffins got baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Walnut Muffins (Makes 26+ muffin depending on how high you fill the tins)

3 C whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp all apice

dash cloves

1 can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 C greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix first 9 ingredients together until well combined

2. Mix last 4 ingredients together and combine well

3. Mix the wet into the dry until just combined then add in the walnuts. Stir a couple of times to distribute the walnuts

4. Spoon into muffin tins until about 2/3 full.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes

Nutrition Facts per Muffin: 160 calories, 28 gm carbs, 3 gms fiber, 16 gm sugar, 4 gm protein, 4 gm fat (heart healthy ones!), 4% DV calcium, 6% DV Iron

Expect more pumpkin recipes over the next few months. I have two more cans in my cabinet right now and I would love to get even more! Love me some pumpkin. Also, apologies in advance as Alex and I are sharing a computer right now (his broke) which means less time for me to blog. Hopefully he will have a computer again soon.

What is your favorite way to use pumpkin? Any recipes you want to see this fall?

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Spaghetti with Mussels

How is everyone doing today? I have been exhausted all day for no apparent reason. I even set my alarm 20 minutes later just to get those few extra minutes. Didn’t seem to help. Anyone else have one of those days recently?

Any who, anyway. This week Jewel had mussels on sale. It has been quite some time since I last had some mussels so I knew that we would be buying them this week. Here are a few fun nutrition facts about mussels: they are very high in vitamin B-12, selenium and manganese. A 3-oz. portion of cooked mussel meat provides 20.4 mcg of vitamin B-12, or roughly 340 percent of the recommended daily value. They are low in calories and fat. Mussels contain appreciable amounts of the health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids.

I soaked the mussels in some water for about 10 minutes to get rid of any sand/grit leftover after harvesting. Once soaked and cleaned, I removed any already open shells. When they are open before cooking it is likely that they were poorly handled or exposed to too much air prior to buying. Only one of my mussels was open already.

I started by cooking some whole wheat spaghetti in one pot and sauteing minced garlic in olive oil in a second pot.

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Once the garlic was soft, I added in white wine, vegetable broth (the only kind in the pantry at the moment), red pepper flakes and some salt. I mixed the broth up before adding in the mussels and placing on the lid to let the mussels steam. Every few minutes I would give the pan a shake to mix that tasty broth up. After about 10 minutes the pasta was done and the mussels were open. Prior to draining the pasta, I reserved 1/2 cup pasta sauce to help thicken the broth to coat the pasta. It was added into the mussel broth and then the pasta was added. Everything got mixed up and covered in the broth before serving. We had side salads of simple mixed greens to add color and veggies to the meal.

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After dinner, Alex and I shared some ice cream while watching the season premiere of NCIS season 11. It was pretty good but I’m feeling sad at the ending of the episode. One of the team not returning??? What? Why? How have I been so out of the loop on this? At least dinner was tasty.

Spaghetti with Mussels and White Wine Sauce (Serves 4)

1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti

1-2# mussels (2# was a lot even for 4 servings but it means Alex will get a bunch in his lunch tomorrow)

3/4 C vegetable broth

1/2 C white wine (I used Pinot Grigio because I had a bottle open)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp olive oil

pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook pasta according the directions on the package, prior to draining reserve 1/2 C pasta water

2. Add olive oil to a large sauce pan that is big enough to hold all of your mussels. Saute garlic until soft and just turning golden brown

3. Add in broth, wine, salt, red pepper flakes.

4. Pour in the mussels and cover the pan with a lid. Let steam for 10 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until after 10 minutes otherwise you lose the steam and it will take longer for the mussels to cook.

5. Remove any unopened shells, they were likely dead before going into the pan. Add in the reserved pasta water and the pasta. Mix well.

6. Serve immediately. You can remove some of the mussels from their shells prior to serving to make it easier to mix, serve, eat. I ended up taking about half out of their shells so it would fit our plates better.

How do you like to prepare your mussels or favorite shell fish?

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Life Update and Some Soup

Well, last time I posted on my little blog was entirely too long ago. I have plenty of excuses but none are a true reason as to why I have left my space here for over 4 months! Let’s start with an update on my little life. Last we left off, Alex and I had just gotten engaged. We have now set our date and booked our ceremony and reception venues! The planning process is slow due to my moving to full time at work.

Starting in mid-July, I took over the pediatric position at my hospital. I am now the RD for our PICU, peds floor and step-down unit. I am absolutely loving it and cannot believe my first full time job is my dream job! It has been a learning experience to say the least.

Earlier this month I ran my very first half-marathon. It was a wonderful race. I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon. I felt great most of the race and finished right at my goal time which was something of a miracle due to how poorly I trained. I am really going to try writing a race review but I am putting it out there if you love running and half-marathons, run the Chicago Half-Marathon. It is well run, a flat course and has awesome crowd support. Can we talk about what a goober I look like in the below picture? Almost every picture my family has of me running the race looks like this.

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Alex and I celebrated our 6 year dating anniversary this month and I cannot believe that in just over a year he is going to be my husband. I worked on our actual anniversary and he greeted me at the door when I got home my favorite flowers. Wonderful surprise! Speaking of celebrations, we celebrated the two marriages of some of our undergrad friends, family friends and my oldest cousin Matt. It has been a wedding filled summer.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in my wonderful new apartment kitchen but many of the recipes I’ve been making are from other blogs or ones I found on pinterest. I feel like my own personal creativity in the kitchen has diminished some due to “being busy” with all of the changes in my life. It seems that when one thing happens, everything else changes. All in good ways though. It appears that I have now settled into my new routine of living with Alex, being a full time dietitian, managing our own apartment, and planning a wedding. Hopefully this means I can spend more time here on the blog.

To make up for my absence I have a wonderful fall soup for you! Since it is now officially fall and football season, nothing sounds better than soup. I originally found a vegetarian soup on pinterest then took it an ran to make my own version. I added chicken, some other spices, and more beans. This is a protein packed soup that is perfect for a crisp cool fall night of watching football. I made Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s Cheesy Italian Quick Bread to go along side our soup to round it out.

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Chicken and Bean Soup  (serves 6+, We will probably get 8 bowls out of it which is reflected in the nutrition facts below)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed

1 can tomato sauce

6 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken)

1/2 cup brown rice

2 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, diced

6-8 cups fresh spinach

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft

2. Add in all of the ingredients except for the spinach and let cook until rice is cooked. You can let it cook longer if you would like to let the flavors blend together. I ended up letting mine cook for about 2-3 hours but it could be as little as 50 minutes if using uncooked rice. Use 1 cup cooked brown rice to cut the cooking time, all you would need to do is let it all warm up together before eating.

3. Once rice is cooked and you are ready to eat, stir in the spinach and ladle into bowls. Top with some Parmesan if you feel so inclined and dig in!

Nutrition Facts: 1/8 recipe (~1.25 cups soup): 290 calories, 5 grams fat, 23 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber

Hope all is well with you, my internet friends. What have you been up to all summer?

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